Is your anxiety running high these days? You're not alone. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to worsen each day, we can't help but to feel stressed, frustrated, worried and anxious. These feelings are understandable in the face of an unfamiliar global pandemic. However, we must deal with these feelings and ensure we are in good mental health. Here are seven ways to deal with anxiety amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
It is okay to be anxious. Your feelings are valid. With the news of spiking death tolls, economic recession, the uncertainty of your timely graduation and your financial strain due to Covid-19, everyone is under distress.
“Anxiety is mother nature’s way of trying to protect us by pushing us to resolve uncertainty and figure out a solution,” Julie Pike, a clinical psychologist who specialises in anxiety disorders, told Business Insider. There is no right way to cope, and you do not have to stress about "being more productive" in this period. Give yourself time to figure out how can you best cope with this new situation that you are in.
2. Maintain social connection
Social distancing doesn't mean social disconnecting. The Conversation mentioned that being deprived of social connection can create more stress and illness and isolation can lead to depression, suicide thoughts and other clinical conditions. Even if we are unable to meet with our loved ones, we could easily give them a quick video call or text. A phone call is better than a text, and a video call is better than a phone call.
I recommend you to download Houseparty, a viral app that is entertaining a generation in lockdown. Houseparty is the face-to-face social network where you can connect with your loved ones. Houseparty enables "shared experiences", offering different entertaining games and screen-sharing so you can Netflix and chill together in self-isolation. To mimic an actual house party, you can find friends chatting in different rooms, get notified when your friends come online and see which of your friends are speaking amongst one another. With up to eight people in a group conversation, You can enter any friends' conversations without permission, unless they "lock" their room. Sounds interesting, right? Click here to download the app on chrome and here on the app store.
3. Put things in perspective
In times of distress, it's reasonable to overthink and create thousands of scenarios in our minds. A lack of information or an excessive load of information leaves us overwhelmed, helpless, or vulnerable. However, you have to think, are these things within your control? What can I do to cope with this challenging situation? What actions can I take now?
For example, we know that we cannot control the spread of Covid-19. Still, we can do our part as individuals to self-isolate, maintain hygiene, maintain social distances and stay healthy by eating well and getting enough sleep. Overall, try to put things into perspective and be rational with your thoughts and decision.
4. Seek accurate information
Access credible sources that you can trust to avoid the fear and panic that can be caused by misinformation.
For Singaporeans still in Australia, do follow the links below:
Telegram channel: https://t.me/SGNchannel
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/629980491125896/?ref=share
Also, make sure you have already registered with the MFA to enable MFA to contact you should the need arise. If you do not have access to your SingPass, click here to find out how else you can register. Click here to subscribe to updates about Covid-19.
For Singaporeans back home, do follow the links below:
Click here for daily updates by the Ministry on Health on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore with live dashboards and daily government updates.
5. Limit news and social media
We definitely should be well informed. However, continually engaging in negative news can unnecessarily intensify stress and anxiety.
Set a time limit or a particular timing for you to read the news daily and try to stop yourself from exceeding that timing. It could be at midnight every day or once every 6 hours, whatever suits you. Of course, do not blame yourself if you do exceed that timing. Try to stick to your allocated timings the next day. You shouldn't drown yourself in these negative news.
6. Create a new routine and lifestyle
Having a routine is useful, even if our routines are going to be different. What makes us feel okay in our lives? And how do we achieve them in our current situation? For example, if you used to go to Barre class twice a week. Instead of that, try to do some Zumba at home. It isn't the same, but we have to make do. These things are crucial to keep us going and keep our sanity.
To help you with your new routine, SOV has created a weekly schedule template for you to plan your new lifestyle! Click here to download the template. Our new lives might soon be our "normal" lives until things get better, so try your best to embrace this change.
7. Seek help from professionals or download de-stressing app
If the steps above don't help with your anxiety or stress, do not be afraid to seek help from mental-health professionals or download a de-stressing app. Thankfully, the University of Melbourne has come up with a list of helpful resources and support.
Tipsheet and online resources:
Australian Psychological Society (APS): Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
Ted article: "I'm incredibly anxious about coronavirus"
Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap: How to respond effectively to the coronavirus
If you would rather chat with a professional, your university also has different counselling and psychological services for you.
University of Melbourne: https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/ask-counselling/
Monash University: https://www.monash.edu/health/counselling
La Trobe University: www.latrobe.edu.au/students/support/wellbeing/counselling
Deakin University: https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/health-and-wellbeing/counselling
Swinburne University of Technology: https://www.swinburne.edu.au/current-students/student-services-support/health/counselling/
Victoria University: https://www.vu.edu.au/current-students/campus-life/advice support/counselling
University of Divinity: https://divinity.edu.au/health-and-wellbeing/
Most of us are separated from our families and loves ones back in Singapore, and things might get too stressful for us sometimes. Your wellbeing and mental health is always the number one priority, so don't be afraid to reach out to your loved ones, your professors and counselling services.
Do take care of yourselves and stay in the pink of health fellow Singaporeans!
by LINDA LEE
Currently pursuing her Masters of Marketing Communications, Linda is the Executive Director of Marketing and Design at Singaporeans of Victoria. In her free time (which she doesn't have much of), she likes to create cute Instagram filters and edit silly videos.